Fashion: We Wore It First]: Marion Hume and Tamsin Blanchard meet four women who remember the Seventies the first time round. What gear are they into now?

ARLENE PHILLIPS (49) was founder, dancer and choreographer of Hot Gossip. She is currently choreographing a musical due to open in the West End later this year.

At the beginning of the Seventies, I lived in skinny-rib tops and flared dance trousers and I saved my Bill Gibb dresses and false eyelashes to go out.

It was with Hot Gossip in the late Seventies that I became conscious about what I was wearing all the time. I became a shopaholic. I went to Swanky Modes, in Camden Town, for all those stretchy dresses with holes in, and to PX (once in Covent Garden) for leather jackets.

I wouldn't wear any of those clothes now, although I'm sure Alana, my 13-year-old daughter, will after she raids my wardrobe again.

Sadly, I didn't keep my shoes or my hats. Sarah Brightman, who was in Hot Gossip then, had a wonderful purple wig. I wonder if she kept it . . .

What was great in the Seventies was the freedom to mix styles. You didn't feel as though you had to tie everything into a 'look'. It wasn't important to match things - you could just throw things on.

There was the freedom to be how you were and who you were. After the Seventies, everything seemed so subdued, like we were living in black.

When I first saw these looks again, I thought they would only work for the really thin. Then I found my Biba chiffon overcoat in the back of my wardrobe and tried it on again. I think I might just wear it this summer.

ANGHARAD REES (43) became the nation's Sunday night sweetheart with the huge success of BBC 1's 'Poldark', which ran from 1975-77.

The clothes then could be cheap or expensive, all mixed together. I loved Bill Gibb. His clothes were totally individual and captured the atmosphere of the time. Another favourite was Rumack & Sample, floaty clothes in soft silks and chiffons. They made my wedding dress and all my evening and party dresses. I wish I'd kept them.

My cheap clothes were from the Great Gear Trading Company, Miss Selfridge and Kensington Antiques Market, where there were two young designers selling kaftans, silver jewellery, tie-dye, velvet embroidered flares and ethnic stuff - all the things that are fashionable now.

I didn't stop working all through the Seventies. One director later told me that I got a part because of the leather bomber jacket, dungarees and high platform boots I was wearing when I met him.

The early Seventies were my favourite. Everybody was a bit hippie, trying to be working class. I loved the relaxed attitudes - people were more gentle, and less egotistical. It would be nice if those attitudes were revived now, along with the fashions. If we all tried to remember the atmosphere of the Seventies, it would be a much better place. You couldn't tell how rich or poor people were by their dress then.

JENNY AGUTTER (40) shares her time between London and Cornwall. Her two-year-old son, Jonathan, loves his video of 'The Railway Children', but for the trains rather than for his mother, the film's 17-year-old star.

The Seventies kicked off my career. I went to the Australian outback to do Walkabout first. It came out in 1970, and The Railway Children came out in 1971. I wanted to do Walkabout because Apple was backing it and I really wanted to meet the Beatles.

I bought a Gina Fratini outfit for the premier of The Railway Children. It cost about pounds 300, which was a phenomenal amount. I still have it and I'd still wear it. It is of heavy pleated, printed silk-rayon, and the jacket has a mandarin neck and a peplum that falls down over the hips. But I've always been slightly dishevelled. There were all these photographs in the papers the next day of we three 'children' and I realised I had mis-buttoned the jacket. I wore my hair parted in the middle with my ears sticking out. Once, someone sent me pounds 5 for a haircut. But I liked it, so I sent it back.

I tried on some of my old trouser suits again and they look funny now. I loved Forties and Fifties cocktail dresses. I still do. They have kept their allure much more than multi-coloured trousers, tight skinny-rib T- shirts and metallic platform shoes. The good thing about the Nineties rerun is you can pick and choose pieces to flatter yourself.

CAROLINE BAKER (50) was at the cutting edge of fashion in the Seventies at 'Nova' magazine. For Benetton in the Eighties she filled billboards withchildren of and in all colours. She is now fashion editor of 'Good Housekeeping'.

I was always a poor girl and in the early Seventies for the first time things were cheap, like Biba and then Kensington market. That's why the Seventies are so huge again now. People haven't got a penny.

My first reaction when I sensed the Seventies revival was 'Never'. I thought flares would never happen again and certainly not clogs. Now I'm wearing my daughter's. Women my age should not dismiss this rerun. That's when the generation gap really becomes unbridgeable, when women think they are past fashion and just get old.

Things will get softer. Floral prints will look right again. There will be a move towards wider trousers in the style of the Thirties, which was more elegant and was what the Seventies took their lead from anyway.

At Nova I was experimenting with menswear, army surplus and leg warmers. We really started what became the Farah Fawcett look. But I had my donkey-brown hipster loons, feather boas and Jimi Hendrix looks. There was a skinny-rib rainbow stripe sweater from C & A that I just had to have.

My reader now might be the mother of teenage children and her daughters would fall about laughing if their mum wore Seventies stuff, even though they are happy to borrow it from mum's wardrobe. Still, I want to wear platforms and I'm really excited about getting a layered haircut.

(Photographs omitted)

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